At an art opening, the woman saw a couple fighting and decided one had
given the other herpes. The woman was in love with the older half of
the couple. Later, whenever the couple fought at parties, she thought:
oh, it's about the herpes again. That could really tear up a
The woman balanced herself atop her girlfriend, worried about morning
saliva smell. The woman's girlfriend only had sex at night except this
once. "Don't stop," the girlfriend said and pulled the woman's hand
into an area that it had rarely traversed except blindly. A mole
appeared somewhere the woman hadn't expected.
One of the woman's previous relationships had happened entirely in the
morning, but this was in college, in a sparsely populated library
Sometimes the woman told herself, "I love my beautiful girlfriend,"
when there was no longer an object to which "girlfriend" referred. The
girlfriend was always gone, or leaving, and would talk to you when she
was ready, in other words, never.
The woman searched casual encounter ads with the keyword "bend,"
"force," or "suck." It did not matter the gender of who was bending,
forcing or sucking whom. She liked reading the poorly written stories
and imagined herself as an unrelated but interested party or the
violating and violated at the same time. Doesn't everyone? The best ads
were posted for cities like Portland, Oregon, where residents were
underemployed and had purer ideas about exploitation, not San
Francisco, where fetishes were annoying and complicated and sounded
like jobs. Often the woman would click her way through most of the
country and then some X-Tube.
"So that's why people in blowjob videos wear glasses."
The woman went to a party to find a new girlfriend. This girlfriend had
a confusing danceclub fantasy: male genitalia exposed and shaken
rhythmically, shirts composed of paper-towel material which women
lifted, exposing themselves at flashlights, but especially to the
bartenders, for drinks.
The woman yawned. It sounded a lot like a club in Wicker Park that had
closed a few years before the girlfriend was old enough to move to
town. "Have you read the Story of O? Of course not. You're like 12."
"Wow, I'm sweaty," said the girlfriend. "Can we smoke in here or what?"
The woman fell asleep with her arm draped over this girlfriend,
thinking about the herpes couple and how they'd always be together,
regardless of how miserable and possibly diseased they became, how she
could never break them up because she was so often distracted thinking
about things that weren't really happening. There was a time before
that couple was even together. The woman once had a chance with this
other woman and maybe would again, but it seemed unlikely or
impossible, like most things she wanted and could not really imagine.
Meghan Austin lives and writes in Chicago. Her work has been published recently in The 2nd Hand, Failbetter and The
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200809marla.htm
Photo detail on main page courtesy
of Warm Sunny Days.
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